Society still feeling out anti-rumor law

Source:Global Times Published: 2013-9-24 0:23:01

Parents and children watch performance art that criticizes online rumors at Liaocheng University in Shandong Province on August 23, as the performer cuts a board with the words “online rumors.” Photo: CFP

The 16-year-old schoolboy surnamed Yang, who was detained for spreading rumors last week by the local police of Zhang Jiachuan county in Northwest China's Gansu Province, was released yesterday morning. Yang was originally charged with the crime of "provoking trouble," which was later changed to "administrative infractions" and one week's detention. It is a welcome act that the police realized its over-reaction, and withdrew the criminal case by handing down a lenient and reasonable punishment.

Some voices from the Internet started to speak highly of Yang as a "hero," which, just like the local police, is also an overreaction. Yang should not be detained for a criminal case, but it does not mean Yang's behavior did not break the law. Those people who are still hyping up this issue, by exalting the schoolboy as an "incarnation of justice," can only worsen his psychological trauma.

Microblogs have become the pit where different sides of public opinion confront each other. Those who protest over the decision of the local police aim to challenge the newborn judiciary interpretation issued by China's top court and prosecutors over the recent crackdown on online rumors. The 16-year-old should not be part of this storm of speech and the police, as well as those activists online, should return to the real issue.

Voices on the Internet tend to be extreme. Although sometimes these voices can create positive effects when they become in tune with the needs of the supervision of public opinion, they usually lack self-control and much negativity is hard to be tackled by ordinary people.

The turn in Yang's case is hailed as a "triumph" by some Internet activists against the judicial interpretation. But they have overestimated their so-called success.

The judicial interpretation still stays where it should be. What's more, Yang's case becomes a vivid model to help society streamline the boundaries and details of the interpretation. The whole society is starting to learn how to adapt to and implement the requirements of the judicial interpretation.

Yang's case has shown the public that the special kind of confrontational emotions on the Internet keeps intact from being overturned by reasoning. Chinese mainstream society should learn how to coexist with these emotions in the long term.

From Yang's case, the government authorities should be more determined to improve their work, and the mainstream society should proceed with firmer confidence. The whole society should be able to observe Yang's case in an objective and complete manner.

One cannot deny that problems emerge in terms of law abidance and law enforcement in Chinese grass-roots communities. These problems are often deliberately chosen by some so-called liberals to prove their alarmist claim that "China is in a mess."

However, this kind of "supervision" should be accepted by Chinese mainstream society. How to reverse the fabricated image that "China is in a mess" is what really matters.

Posted in: Editorial

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